By The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster

St. Patrick’s prayer begins “At Tara.” Tara is an ancient burial ground in Ireland, and the symbolic center of the monarchy, the place from which kings were to rule. It might be like a prayer beginning, “From Washington, D.C. in this fateful hour,” or “At the White House today,” but because ancient Irish kings were imbued with spiritual leadership power, it might be more like praying “At the Vatican.” Even in the 5th century when St. Patrick was writing, Tara was ancient: its foundations go back to 3000 BCE, around the time Stonehenge and the Pyramids in Egypt were created.

It makes me wonder how place and faith are related. Do you pray differently, depending on where you are? What might it look like to pray in a less-typical place today? Where would you go? What would you ask of God? I love that St. Patrick is in tune with the earth—sun, snow, fire, lightening—when he prays, too. What sounds, sights, feelings, histories or living creatures are embodied in the new places you are praying?

Let us pray:

At Tara today in this fateful hour
I place all heaven with its power,
And the sun with its brightness,
And the snow with its whiteness,
And fire with all the strength it has,
And lightening with its rapid wrath,
And the winds with their swiftness along the path,
And the sea with its deepness,
And the rocks with their steepness
And the earth with its starkness;
All these I place
By God’s almighty help and grace,
Between myself and the powers of Darkness.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven,
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightening,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.

I arise today,
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the creator of creation.
—St. Patrick, 5th Century

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